Sunday, December 18, 2011

Review: Small Town Christmas by Jill Shalvis, Hope Ramsay, and Katie Lane

Small Town Christmas by Jill Shalvis, Hope Ramsay, and Katie Lane
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Romance
ISBN: 9781455513611
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Jill Shalvis Reading Order
Three heartwarming holiday stories to prove that love is the greatest gift of all.

Kissing Santa Claus
NASCAR driver Logan Perrish returns to Lucky Harbor, Washington, with love in his heart and a ring in his pocket. But can Sandy Jansen forget the past and give him a second chance? Or will Logan be spending another Christmas alone?

I'll Be Home for Christmas
After ignoring the advice of Miz Miriam Randall, local matchmaker, Annie Roberts expects another hum drum holiday in Last Chance, South Carolina. But when a stray cat arrives in the arms of Army sergeant Matt Jasper, a calico named Holly just may be the best matchmaker of all.

O Little Town of Bramble
All Ethan Miller wants for Christmas is to celebrate in Bramble, Texas, with family and friends. But when his childhood neighbor, Samantha Henderson, comes home for the holiday, Ethan realizes that the girl-next-door could be the girl of his dreams.

Small Town Christmas Cover “Kissing Santa Claus” by Jill Shalvis
I’ll admit right off the bat that I’m in love with Jill Shalvis’s Lucky Harbor series. So when I saw that Logan Perrish – who failed to win his ex-wife’s heart back in The Sweetest Thing – was getting a story of his own, I had to read it.

“Kissing Santa Claus” is a wonderful holiday treat. Logan fell hard and fast for Sandy without even knowing it. It’s only after spending five months away from her that he realizes he can’t live without her, so he returns to Lucky Harbor, intent on proving his love to Sandy. Who can resist a sexy man willing to pull out all the stops for the woman he loves? Not me. I do wish that “Kissing Santa Claus” were a bit longer, especially since I’d have liked to read about Sandy and Logan’s initial fling. Nevertheless, “Kissing Santa Claus” is an entertaining story with a dash of Christmas cheer and a healthy dose of sensuality that will likely please Lucky Harbor fans.

“I’ll Be Home for Christmas” by Hope Ramsay
A handsome military man rescuing a stray cat? That’s pretty much all you need to capture my interest. Hope Ramsay’s “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” starts of sweet and has some incredibly touching moments throughout the tale, but it falls short as a romance. There’s chemistry between Matt and Annie, but Ms. Ramsay never capitalizes on it. In fact, just when I thought that something might happen between them, the story ends, leaving me an unsatisfied reader. This is the first story I’ve read by Ms. Ramsay and I liked her writing style enough that I’d read a different book by her even though “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” didn’t do much for me.

“O Little Town of Bramble” by Katie Lane
Friends become almost-lovers just in time for Christmas in “O Little Town of Bramble.” There was something just a bit “off” about Katie Lane’s story. It’s a contemporary romance, but the people and the town of Bramble feel like they fell out a sixties television show – in other words, the dialogue and incidents came across as staged. This made it hard to connect to the characters, even Ethan and Sam who were just a little too perfect to feel real. Ethan’s a small town farmer who never got to live out his dreams and Sam’s the little sister he never had who comes back to town all grown up and transformed into the woman he desires above all else. I liked both Ethan and Sam – in fact, I liked everyone in Bramble – but I wasn’t able to connect with them. There are some truly cute moments in “O Little Town of Bramble” but on the whole the story just wasn’t for me.

Small Town Christmas has a touch of spice and a whole lot of sweet, making it a charming anthology overall. Not all the stories were to my taste, but Jill Shalvis’s “Kissing Santa Claus” was a delight and readers who are looking for more Christmas than romance in their reading might enjoy “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and “O Little Town of Bramble” more than I did.